Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chapter Three: God's rule of Righteousness

(Adam and God's rule of righteousness)

Does the grand narrative of Scripture and our faith, begin with Abraham or Adam? I've alluded to this earlier, and it certainly includes Abraham but as Edwards attests it begins with Adam, and the connection God establishes with Adam. This is significant both for the doctrine of Original Sin and Justification. This chapter focuses on what Edwards thought occurred between God and Adam before the Fall.

Humanity is included in the love that flows between the Father and the Son prior to the Fall. Adam as the representative of humanity is called to be obedient to God's righteous rule. A location for this idea is Genesis 2:16 "And the Lord God commanded the man..." Adam was to honour the love of the Trinity extended to him by honouring God's authority and rule of righteousness. Edwards says: "If Adam had finished his course of perfect obedience, he would have been justified; and certainly his justification would have implied something more than what is merely negative; he would have been approved of, as having fulfilled the righteousness of the law, and accordingly would have been adjudged to the reward of it." (Infinite Merit, Biehl, 89)

There are two more interesting things to say about this business between God and Adam.
  1. Adam's role: Edwards view Adam as both the natural and legal "head" of humanity. (91)
  2. God's 'rule of righteousness' is the fountainhead, the source or the underlying principle of all law, natural, moral and Jewish. Biehl summarises by saying "All commands are comprehended in the one great law of God." (92)